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The appointment that started it all...

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:26pm
I'd like to thank everyone first off for making Adam's day...or weekend, if you think about how long it takes to paint a room. I know this means I lost, but that's ok. I still reserve the right to re-paint once we get all the junk out of there and get the baby stuff in.
Because while the poll clearly ended in Adam's corner, he does after all have to live with me for the rest of his life :)

Tomorrow is my follow-up appointment with my oncological gynecologist (there's a mouthful!) - this is the appointment that started it all 5 years ago. Can't believe it's been 5 years...

The story goes like this. I was having abnormal pap tests, so my gynecologist decided to do a small biopsy of my cervix at my appointment (March, 2003). I was three weeks away from finishing my journalism post-grad degree, was gearing up to leave for Australia for a 2-month vacation before starting work, and was absolutely unconcerned about my health. I was 30 years old, healthy, exercised at least 5x week, and was pretty much in the best shape of my life. Life.was.great.

I got a call to come back for a follow-up appointment - I remember I was at Ryerson, walking from one class to another, when the nurse called. She asked me a few odd questions (which I didn't think much of at the time), and told me I had to come back in to get my results. I told her I was leaving for Australia shortly and could I just come in when I got back? She said no. I was irritated. I didn't have time for this, not to mention this was the exact time SARS had hit us so I wasn't crazy about having to go to Sunnybrook Hospital for my appointment.

I truly expected it to be nothing. I went to my appointment, all gowned up because of SARS (we were required to wear a hospital gown, hat, and mask, and get our temperature taken every time we walked through the doors). My doctor was also fully gowned, including goggles, and I couldn't see his mouth because of the mask. He sat down and laid it out for me. They found cancer in my biopsy, some kind of lymphoma but they'd have to do further tests to figure out exactly what type. He sounded shocked, and sad for me, and it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I can only describe it like I was suddenly very aware of my heartbeat, and it felt like everything was crushing in on me, like I was shrinking into myself.

So every year now I go back for my follow-up with this doctor, in the same hospital where I was diagnosed and did all my treatment. I walk past the chemo unit and see everyone waiting for their treatment, and I hope with every step that I'll never be back there. I used to spend about a month before this appointment stressing - worrying about the 'What ifs?' that invade your mind when you've faced something like this. Then it started getting better. I would worry for two weeks before, then a year later it was only a week, and now I seem to be down to the two-three days before. In fact, I only just clued in on Monday that this was THE appointment. Hadn't really thought much about it before then...progress is everything.

This appointment marks 5 years, a milestone in cancer. Now technically I won't be in remission for 5 years until the anniversary of my end of treatment (October), but I'm going to start celebrating tomorrow. Why not? I think I'm done with the 'What ifs?'. They haven't done much for me in the past 5 years so it's probably time to move on. Having said all that, I appreciate any good vibes you guys can send me for tomorrow.
It can't hurt : )
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